Monday, February 23, 2015

Spotlight On...Leslie Gauthier

Name: Leslie Gauthier

Hometown: West Hartford, CT (but I’ve been in NYC 7 1/2 years so, can we just say NYC, now?)

Education: Fordham University - Acting & Directing. I highly recommend it.

Select Credits: 23 Year Old Myth (playwright), "Stop the Virgens", "What Next" (web series), Turn of the Screw (twice as Flora), Melancholy Play (director). SHAMELESS PLUG: go to www.lesliergauthier.com for more info -- even a PDF of my resume ;)

Why theater?: I use the phrase “make new friends but keep the old” often. It’s kind of like that.

Who do you play in Heart of Oak?: Alvida

Tell us about Heart of Oak: A princess escapes an arranged marriage by putting together a rag-tag, but ultimately very proficient group of women. Ironically, her great lengths to escape marriage make her would-be husband fall so in love with her that he tracks her down and valiantly boards her ship. Chaos ensues. Hearts are broken. Swords are drawn.

What is it like being a part of Heart of Oak?: Informative. And vulnerable. Never have I played a role that made me so consistently aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a leader...and person. The dichotomy between socializing off-stage and acting onstage is always interesting and unique to each rehearsal process--this one especially so. I usually walk away saying “Did I really just say that like that? What an asshole!” [Side note: the stage combat is amazing and an art within itself. It’s posed so many new challenges and is really fun and satisfying when you finally get it.]

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The simplest theatre is most inspiring to me. With simplicity comes complexity. I don’t need to see how much money you spent. The older I get, the more of a minimalist I become. Unless you give me tickets to Fuerzabruta. I loved Fuerzabruta--and can indulge with a big ol’ fashioned musical once in a way. Artists who depend on their artistry and their trusted collaborators are most inspiring— Anna Deavere Smith, The Wooster Group, Mabou Mines. I just read The First Bad Man by Miranda July (Thank you, Dax/Hanna!) and was reminded of her fiercely unique voice. She doesn’t seem afraid of being misunderstood--a lesson I could learn. Sheila Heti & Lena Dunham are kind of like that too--under my “younger female writers I envy because they have something I need to find in myself” bracket. Also- My friends.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Classically speaking—Masha in The Seagull, Yelena in Uncle Vanya, Nora in A Doll’s House. I’d like to play Harper one day. When I’m old enough--Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Not playing nice, I imagine, will feel very satisfying. (Kind of like Alvida!--Alvida isn’t nice). I feel like I need to throw a wrench in here: Velma Kelly in Chicago and/or Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

What’s your favorite showtune?: "All that Jazz"—always a good one. Another one? 'The Wizard and I'. Listen to that and try not to get excited about life. It’s so innocent and hopeful and catchy!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: That’s difficult. Actor: Sam Rockwell. Actress: Cynthia Nixon (among many others) Director(s): Elizabeth LeCompte, Wes Anderson.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I’d like to play me in a movie. If not myself—I think Emma Watson. It would be called, "Days Like This" or "It’s the Little Things". It would be described as “funny-sad-sad-funny”. I might just be saying that because that seems to be the person people say I look like. If I could take the face of Emma Watson, the soul of Natasha Lyonne and the elegance of Audrey Hepburn and make them into a mega-actress then that’s who I would like to play me. Oh, I’m just brimming with indulgence right now!

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Maybe the original Hair...seeing it now was kind of lost on me I think. Oh! Or Company...I wish I could have been in Elaine Stritch’s presence while telling me to ‘rise!’

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I hear Disgraced is mind-blowing. I can’t wait to see Hand to God. Mostly I’ve been telling people to listen to "The Heart" podcast (aka "Audio Smut"). Time and Money (the lack thereof) have made a serious effect on my theatre-going. Mostly, I try to get to everything my friends are in.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Cursing. Ben & Jerry’s. Cursing with joy while eating Ben & Jerry’s.

What’s up next?: Anything that might risk tremendous failure. It’s one thing to be rejected--it’s another to fail.

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